Turning Off Lights for International Dark Sky Week

Turning Off Lights for International Dark Sky Week

During the annual International Dark Sky Week (IDSW) we’re encouraged to turn off the lights and turn up our appreciation for the night sky. This year, it will be held April 2–8, 2024, to end on the Great North American Eclipse!

International Dark Sky Week (IDSW) was started by high school student Jennifer Barlow in 2003 and is now spearheaded by DarkSky International. In explaining why she started the week, Barlow said, “I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future. I want to help preserve its wonder.”

Light pollution isn’t just a buzzword for astronomers. Excessive artificial light disrupts ecosystems, impacts human health, and squanders energy. IDSW serves as a timely reminder for designers to consider the impact of their lighting choices.

This year’s theme, “Discover the Night,” underscores the importance of intentional lighting design. Designers can play a crucial role in mitigating light pollution by:

  • Prioritizing task lighting: Focus the light on what needs illumination, not the entire space.
  • Shielding fixtures: Direct light downward, preventing unnecessary skyward glare.
  • Utilizing warm colour temperatures: Cooler light scatters more, contributing to light pollution. Warmer tones are more night-sky friendly.
  • Employing timers and dimmers: Allow for adjustment based on activity and time of day.
  • Embracing natural light: Maximize daylight exposure through strategic window placement and light shelves.

A Celebration of Darkness

IDSW is more than just advocating for responsible lighting; it’s a call to reconnect with the wonder of the night sky. Here are some ideas to get involved:

  • Host a stargazing party: Invite friends and family to experience the beauty of a dark sky.
  • Become a citizen scientist: Contribute to scientific research by measuring light pollution levels in your area through Globe at Night.
  • Spread awareness: Talk to your community about the importance of responsible lighting.
  • Embrace the dark: Turn off unnecessary lights at night and rediscover the magic of a natural nighttime environment.

By embracing darkness, we can design a brighter future. Let International Dark Sky Week inspire us to create lighting solutions that illuminate our spaces thoughtfully while preserving the irreplaceable beauty of the night sky.